Below is a list with very brief descriptions of some of the main types of technology being used by children today. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, rather more of a beginners' guide.Instant MessagingInstant Messaging is a form of live and instantaneous communication, a mixture of chat rooms, email and phone calls, facilitated by the internet connecting PCs. It can take the form of private communication between known friends where users build up a list of their own contacts and are alerted when they are online, or it can also be a public open environment. Instant Messaging allows people to communicate via the web instantaneously over the using a variety of options including text, voice, video and pictures.EmailEmail stands for Electronic Mail and is a way of sending messages from one computer to another over the Internet. Messages are composed in special e-mail programmes.Picture and video-messagingPicture and video messaging are increasingly popular forms of communications, as mobile phone devices become increasingly sophisticated. Essentially the devices allow users to forward pictures and videos in a similar manner to text messages.TextingShort Messaging Service (SMS) better known as texting, is the facility on your mobile phone handset which allows the user to write a text message and send this message to another number, where it will be received as a written message.Social Networking Sites (SNS)Social Networking areas are websites with applications which help connect friends using a number of tools like blogs, profiles, internal email systems and photos. Well known sites include Facebook and Twitter. There are also a number of SNS specifically for young children, for example Club Penguin, Movie Star Planet etc. Many young people use these sites to create their own profiles, which they then link to those of their friends and so on. Once set up they can use these profiles to share photographs, create blogs and post comments on other people’s profiles and blogs.Chat roomsBecause the Internet connects PCs, it allows people to "chat". There are certain websites which have chat room forums - which allow people to "post up" messages and converse with each other. Conversations are called "threads".Surfing the NetMost people who surf the net will do so by means of a browser, which allows you to look at internet sites. The most common browser used on PCs is Google Chrome. Other browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.Search EnginesSearch Engines are used to assist people when surfing the net. Among the more popular search engines are Google (www.google.ie) and Yahoo (www.yahoo.com). Essentially, search engines have a search bar facility, which allows users to type in the specific information they seek. Once you do this and hit search, the search engine trawls the web seeking pages that will have the information that you are seeking, and it then gives you a list of appropriate web addresses.Games ConsolesGames Consoles are entertainment systems designed specifically to allow users to play games. Popular versions include Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox.Online GamesOnline Gaming relates to the process whereby users can, through the internet interact with other online users in playing games. This allows users to play games against other individuals without the need for players to be in the same location. www.pegi.info is an excellent site which provides information on protecting children when they are participating in online gaming.File SharingFile Sharing programmes allow users to swap or share files from their PCs with others over the Internet. There are also some commercial peer-to-peer applications which allow users to buy music and video content over the Internet.WeblogsWeblogs, more commonly referred to as ‘blogs’ are usually intended for a public audience. A blog also allows for interaction with its readers through comments which can be made on the posting or other comments. Blogs differ from personal websites in that they are made up of a series of individual postings, usually published in chronological order. Generally only the manager(s) of the blog are authorised to post messages. Anyone with an internet connection can upload a comment to a posting. Access to blogs can be restricted if necessary, and comments can either be disabled or moderated by the manager of the blog. They are particularly popular with young people. Bloggers often address a narrow topic and a small, specialised audience.